prior to



prior to

  1. (formal) before, previous to.

Usage notesEdit

The etymological antonym of prior is ulterior (from Latin), and the corresponding antonym to prior to is ulterior to (compare primate/ultimate for “first/last”). This is now no longer used, however, and there is no corresponding antonym to express “after”. Typically either subsequent (to) or posterior (to) are used, but these form different pairs – precedent/subsequent and anterior/posterior – and are more formal than prior. For this reason some suggest against using prior to, particularly when it is paired with an antonym, instead using the Germanic before/after.[1][2]



  1. ^ Antonym of prior to?”, Danny Beckett, English Language & Usage, StackExchange
  2. ^ Garner, Modern American Usage:
    “As Theodore Bernstein once pointed out, one should feel free to use prior to instead of before only if one is accustomed to using posterior to for after.